A Mahatma was leaving a town and a crowd had gathered at the railway station to see him off. Devotees were prostrating, putting garlands around his neck, and wishing him a good journey.
A lawyer, also a traveler, was watching the scene and felt an aversion towards the Mahatma. In his opinion, “Sannyasis like him (the Mahatma) are good for nothing, and are nothing but the parasites of society as they do not hold a regular job.”
The Mahatma and the lawyer later happened to be seated opposite each other as the train took off.
After exchanging some pleasantries, they began conversing.
Mahatma: What work do you do?
Lawyer: I am a lawyer in the High Court.
M: Tell me, what makes a good lawyer?
L: One who has good knowledge of law.
M: I do not agree with you. In my opinion, a good lawyer is one who can make a lie into a truth and a truth into a lie.
L: That’s more correct.
M: What do your children do?
L: I have two children. The first one is a doctor in the Government Hospital and is well settled. The second one dropped out of college and has no job. I could not pay attention to his studies while he was young due to my workload.
M: Now, let me tell the rest of the story. Since the younger son has no job, he stays at home. All of you nag him for having no job and for not earning any money. In frustration, he develops bad habits like stealing, drinking, etc. Finally, unable to bear the nagging he leaves home. Where does he go? He comes to my Ashram. In my compassion, I accept him in the Ashram. I give him love and try to instill him with moral values. But the damage you have done in 35 years, I cannot undo in just two years. While he is living in the Ashram, he gets involved in a robbery case and gets arrested. The media cries, “Ashramite Arrested in a Robbery Case.” Now, who is to blame in this situation: you or me?
L: It is my fault.
M: But society and the media blame the Ashram for his misbehavior. They conclude that all Ashrams are filled with such people. Further, if there is a bad lawyer or a doctor, does it make all lawyers and doctors bad? Similar is the case with sannyasis. Since society and the media are unwilling to understand the causes behind such situations, the sannyasi decides to keep quiet and endure the blame.
— Gopal Katpady
This is an abridged version of the story of the same title published in the March 2014 edition of Matruvani.